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Friday 13 March 2015

New Leader of Tajik Opposition Group 24 Elected


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DUSHANBE (Avesta News Agency) – Tajik opposition Group 24 movement has elected its new leadership after its founding leader Umarali Quvatov was shot dead in Istanbul last week, the Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on Thursday.

Sharofiddin Gadoev

Quvatov’s cousin and business associate, 29-year-old Sharofiddin Gadoev, who has been living in self-imposed exile in Spain since 2013, told RFE/RL that the leading council of the Group 24 held its gathering on March 12 and elected him the movement’s new leader.

A Tajik businessman, Sobir Valiev, 26, was elected Gadoev’s deputy.

Gadoev declined to say where exactly the gathering was held. The majority of the movement’s members are living outside Tajikistan. Gadoev also said that the Group 24 will continue its political activities opposing Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.

Tajik authorities banned Group 24 branding it extremist after the group called on Tajik citizens for anti-government protests in Dushanbe in October. Two alleged members of the group are currently on trial. Last week, one activist was sentenced to 17½ years in jail for being a member of Group 24.

Meanwhile, Tajikistan is trying 23 men it says are members of a banned Islamic group the government has classified as extremist. The Khujand City Court in the northern region of Sughd began hearings on March 12.

The suspects were arrested last year on suspicion of membership in Jamaat Ansarullah, a branch of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The IMU, which is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations and is banned in Central Asian countries and Russia. It is believed to have links with Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. Last month, a court in the Sughd region convicted 13 local men of being members of Jamaat Ansarullah and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 9 to 12 years.

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